The Hivos Local Office in South Africa and our Making All Voices Count programme staff proudly joined some 30,000 people who took part in the People’s March Against Xenophobia on 23 April through Johannesburg, South Africa. The march demanded an end to a recent wave of xenophobic attacks, and demonstrators carried placards to show solidarity with foreign nationals targeted in the violence.
A procession of people spanning five kilometres marched through the city in the biggest display of solidarity with foreign nationals since the violence began on March 30, in Durban. People from different communities, locals and foreign nationals joined the anti-xenophobia march in a collective stand against attacks on foreigners, carrying placards saying “Africa Unite” and “Welcome foreigners”.
Hivos in South Africa joined the growing calls for violence against foreign nationals to stop. Hivos in South Africa has worked closely with organisations doing work on migrants and refugees through the Integrated Refugee Rights, and more recently with organisations working with LGBT refugees through the Sexual Diversity Rights programme. It was only natural for Hivos in South Africa to join this demonstration against the unfair treatment of foreign nationals.
Marjan Besuijen, director of Making All Voices Count said, “It is very important for a programme like ours, which aims to make governments accountable to All Voices, to ensure that diversity is respected and appreciated in society”.
Hivos in South Africa was amongst a broad coalition of faith-based organisations, representatives from social justice networks, trade unions, NGOs and the corporate sector that aimed to show the world that there is another South Africa, which welcomes migrants regardless of economic status or race and appreciates their contribution to society.
The People’s March Against Xenophobia is an emergency coalition convened to confront xenophobia in South Africa, denounce the violence and embrace unity. The coalition includes: the African Diaspora Forum, CoRMSA, faith-based Treatment Action Campaign, Equal Education, and Awethu!, seven trade unions – FAWU, NUMSA,SACCAWU, SAFPU, SASAWU, CWU, PAWUSA – with SECTION27, Corruption Watch and Doctors Without Borders/MSF.